Open Letter to Oracle: The Response so Far

Posted in: Technical Track

About six weeks ago, I wrote, with my colleagues here at Pythian, an open letter to Larry Ellison, imploring him and Oracle to free API-level access to Automated Workload Repository (AWR) and Active Session History (ASH).

This letter has received amazing support from the community, with 158 “signatories” at last count, and many other positive comments.

We received an informal but cordial response from Oracle two or three days after we couriered the letter to them, which said we could expect a formal reply soon.

Sadly, I think the official response was delivered a couple nights ago, with the public release of the Oracle 11g documentation, specifically, “Oracle® Database Licensing Information 11g Release 1 (11.1).” I advise you to read it yourselves, so you can be sure you get the correct information, but I believe that in the section on Diagnostic Pack, we see roughly the same statements as before — API-level access to AWR and ASH continues to require licenses for Diagnostic Pack.

I have only skimmed the entire document; being a slow reader, I’ll need to spend a few hours to read it all. I have noted at least one encouraging item, though. It seems that Oracle has at least provided customers with a means of disabling the AWR features that they cannot or choose not to license.

That is an improvement. Just not the one we had hoped for. That being said, it’ll never be too late for Oracle to do the right thing. And so, dear readers visiting from Oracle, take another look at the comments and signatures again and please re-consider.

I found today’s comment from an employee of a major transnational energy company to be particularly instructive regarding the downside of Oracle’s current strategy. In it, Carl Roberts writes:

…due to these and a few other licensing practises by Oracle we … have made SQL Server our strategic platform.

Sometimes, good tactics can be bad strategy. The signatories and I strongly believe that this is one of those times.

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About the Author

Mark Brinsmead is a staff DBA with The Pythian Group. He has almost 20 years' experience in consulting, providing a variety of services to clients both very small and very large.

3 Comments. Leave new

don’t worry: plenty of applications of ” newspeak” and marketing nonsense will surely mask the simple fact there are quite a few companies totally fed-up with Oracle’s short-sighted licensing schemes, and ready to jump to SQL Server.


Given Larry was interviewed recently saying that software licenses are only 10% of the overall cost of using software, specifically making this a separate license is contrary to his statement.

ASH, ADDM and ADVISORs and the diagnostic pack actually drop the total cost of ownership as it makes the administration portion of that cost cheaper, both time and money.

Of course Larry and the board of Oracle are beholden to shareholders and to always
growing faster than the market has already discounted into the share price.
For the share price to outperform the market, Oracle must grow at a faster rate than the market expects, ignoring short term volatility.

Have Fun


AWR and ASH Licensing - Letter to Larry Ellison « Mike R’s Blog
August 22, 2007 11:37 am

[…] Update (22-Aug-2007) Mark Brinsmead provides an update on his response from Oracle on the Pythian Group Blog. […]


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